Noting it's been an erratic period of demand all through 2015, MNI Chief Economist Philip Uglow takes note of the global economic slowdown, the strong dollar, and weak oil as all impacting businesses to varying degrees.
The 10-year Treasury yield is flat at 2.22%, but had been as high as 2.25% earlier in the session.
Maybe less important than the absolute level of interest rates, says Bill Gross, is the flatness of the yield curve - a situation coming Fed rate hikes are sure to worsen.
"Capitalism would not work well if Fed Funds and 30-year Treasurys co-existed at the same yield, nor if commercial paper and 30-year corporates did as well. Investors would have no incentive to invest long-term."
Gross calls for "Operation Switch," in which the Fed seeks to steepen the yield curve (and thus boost income for savers, banks, and ultimately corporate America) by swapping out of its long-dated Treasury holdings for shorter-dated (two to five years) paper.
Chastising U.S. central bankers for refusing to acknowledge the country's increasingly finance-based economy, Gross has no illusions the Fed will follow his advice.
The FOMC will have some more weak economic numbers to chew on as it begins its two-day policy meeting today, with consumer confidence, durable goods orders, and PMI services all coming in well below expectations.
There's also disappointing Q3 results from the likes of Cummins (and more job cuts), UPS, and lodging REITs to consider.
Very few are predicting a rate hike tomorrow, but possibly there will be some hint as to whether the central bank plans to keep its promise to hike before year-end even as the economic data continues to soften.
The 10-year Treasury yield is down four basis points to 2.02%. TLT +0.45%, TBT -0.9%
The odds of a rate hike this year take another blow after retail sales edged up just 0.1% in September vs. a 0.2% gain expected.
Core retail sales fell 0.3% vs. a 0.1% decline expected, and ex-auto & gas sales were flat vs. a 0.3% gain expected.
The January 30-Day Fed Funds futures contract is up a whopping two basis points (a big move for this contract) to 99.795, pricing in less than a 30% chance of a 25 basis point rate hike by the Fed this year. One has to go all the way out to next summer to find a 25 point Fed move fully priced in.
The 10-year Treasury yield is lower by four basis points to 2%.
Reiterating the company line that higher rates are in store before the new year, FRBNY President Bill Dudley tells CNBC reminds this is only a forecast, not a promise.
Even a hike this month is a possibility, says Dudley, acknowledging last week's disappointing employment report, but noting just 120K-150K jobs created monthly is enough to push unemployment down (especially with the denominator of headline UE rate equation - the labor force participation rate - continuing to shrink).
Recent market volatility? It's natural as the Fed prepares to begin a tightening cycle.
Goldman's base case still expects a rate hike in December, but Friday's weak jobs number (along with downward revisions to August and July prints) has the team suggesting the Fed's first move may not come until well into 2016.
A check of Fed Funds futures finds market predicting just a 34% chance of a boost in interest rates this year, and the first 25 point increase not fully priced in until next summer.
The weak jobs print probably takes an October move off the table, says Jon Hilsenrath, but it's unlikely to alter to alter Fed plans to get one rate hike in before the new year.
The economy has undergone more than one soft patch of job growth during this recovery, says Hilsenrath - most recently between Dec. 2013 and Feb. 2014 when job growth averaged just 154K per month (it averaged 167K per month in Q3 this year).
Also, many at the Fed believe slowing job growth makes sense thanks to slow growth in the labor force - i.e., the U.S. doesn't need to produce as many jobs to keep unemployment steady. He notes the broader U-6 unemployment rate fell thirty basis points to just 10% - well below the 20-year average of 10.7%.
"Production growth collapsed and New Orders fell sharply," say the authors of the Chicago Business Barometer report, as the gauge dipped 5.7 points to 48.7 in September - the fifth time in contraction zone this year.
Of the five components of the Barometer, just Employment and Supplier Deliveries were in expansion territory. A double-digit drop in Production put that measure at its lowest level since July 2009. Order Backlogs were in contraction for the eighth straight month.
"The scale of the downturn in September following the recent global financial fallout is concerning," says MNI Indicators Chief Economist Philip Uglow. "We await the October data to better judge whether this was a knee jerk reaction."
The 2-year yield is off 2.4 basis points to 0.64% - it was as high as 0.81% just ahead of the FOMC's decision not to hike rates two weeks ago.
Those who buy and sell on futures markets continue to take issue with the Fed's insistence that a rate hike is coming before year-end. The January 2016 Fed Funds futures contract at 99.765 discounts less than a 50% chance of a 25 basis point move. Going further out, the Oct. 2016 contract has rallied to 99.455 - pricing in less than 50 basis points of tightening between now and one year from now.
Stocks are sharply lower in early action, led by a 7.2% decline in Caterpillar after that company cut guidance and set in place 4K-5K job cuts over the next 15 months, and maybe 10K over the next couple of years, citing "a convergence of challenging marketplace conditions."
The 10-year Treasury yield is lower by seven basis points to 2.09%, and the two-year is off four bps to 0.66%. January 2016 Fed Funds futures are pricing in less than a 50% chance of a 25 bp rate boost this year.
No longer trading after today's close will be the Pimco 3-7 Year U.S. Treasury ETF (NYSEARCA:FIVZ), the Pimco 7-15 Year U.S. Treasury ETF (NYSEARCA:TENZ), and Pimco Foreign Currency Strategy ETF (NYSEARCA:FORX). The Treasury ETFs launched in 2009, and the FX ETF in 2013.
Combined the three funds had only about $45M in AUM, and 154 Seeking Alpha real-time news alerts subscribers.
The liquidation process is expected to be completed by month's end, after which all those who still own shares will be "automatically redeemed."
"If you put a gun to my head, I would say probably 2016," says Pimco money manager Jonathan Ferro, calling the Fed worried it's not gotten any traction on (boosting) inflation. "The jury is out on December."
Two-year Treasurys had their biggest rally since 2009 yesterday after the FOMC refrained from hiking rates, and have extended that move this morning, the yield slipping all the way to 0.67%.
The 10-year yield is off another three basis points to 2.16%.
JPMorgan Asset Management's David Tan likes the 7-10 year part of the curve, noting global disinflationary forces, and any move on short rates now pushed out to December.
More time is needed to assess the impact on the U.S. economy from what's going on globally, as well as renewed downward pressures on inflation, says Janet Yellen at her post-FOMC meeting press conference. She also mentions the strong dollar more than once. The early impression is that this doesn't sound like someone ready to boost rents, even as she says October will be a "live meeting."
Treasurys are really partying now, with the 10-year yield down nine basis points to 2.21% and the 2-year down 12 basis points and back below 0.70%. Near-term 30-Day Fed Funds Futures are up sharply, with the January 2016 contract pricing just over 50% chance of a 25 basis point rate hike in 2015.
Running monetary policy in this country was supposed to be his job, but instead Larry Summers is handicapping the Fed decision from the sidelines, and he thinks the case against a rate hike has only grown in the past two weeks.
Among his reasons is that the market has already done the work by erasing $700B in market cap from stocks, and - according to Goldman and Chicago Fed measures - tightening financial conditions by widening credit spreads.
There's also inflation, and the case for concern about it breaking out higher is a weak one, says Summers.
He also lays to rest the "one and done" argument. "My head spins a bit," says Summers, as the same people who say 25 basis points will have little impact, also argue about how vital its is to tighten 25 basis points. If a 25 point move won't affect the economy, then why do it?
"The case for hitting the brakes in an economy with sub-target inflation, employment and output is not there; regardless of whether the brakes are to going to be pressed hard or softly, singly or multiple times."
August's 190K jobs added was just shy of estimates for 201K. July's 185K gain was revised lower to 177K, and June's 237K to 231K. Revisions were made to months before that - in total, they're not material.
The average pace of job gains in 2015 of 195K stands against 248K for the last six months of last year.